Magnets and Quality Control in the Food & Beverage Industry
Do you know about the important role magnets play in the food and beverage industry? This is especially crucial during processing when metal contaminants can interrupt production, damage equipment, or lead to product recalls and consumer injury. Magnets are used to attract unwanted metal fragments (some as small as dust), whereas other methods of quality control (QC) — metal detectors and X-ray machines — are limited by how much they can accurately detect.
Throughout the average production line, magnets (in several different forms) are arranged to catch unwanted metal debris. These magnetic “formats” include grate, tube, plate, filter, pneumatic, chute, pupe, and drum magnets. For example, dried fruit processors often put plate magnets at the start of their production line to remove metal dust and rust before anything else.
Producers of yogurt or cheese spread — anything with a consistency somewhere between solid and liquid— use magnetic filters to remove the particles that usually travel “downstream” undetected. These filters implement neodymium bars strong enough to attract and hold even the smallest bits of metal.
A magnetic drum separator might be more useful to remove larger items like nails, bolts, needles, and other machine parts that could potentially fall into the product during harvesting, transportation, processing, or packaging.
In order to maintain high quality, magnets used for QC should be inspected at least once or twice a day. Again, it’s not only a matter of protecting delicate or expensive machinery but of protecting customers that consume the product.
One method of testing involves measuring the pull force, or the magnet’s holding strength in ounces of force or pounds. Essentially, this is the force required to pull two magnets apart, or to remove a magnet from another surface. Keep in mind that it can depend on temperature, size of the magnet, surface condition, and pull angle.
We also suggest regularly validating your magnets’ ability to pick up any and all metal debris. This involves running a designated test-product through the processing line. Intentionally add metal debris and verify that everything gets picked up.
Call Apex for Neodymium Magnets!
At Apex, we offer 450 different types of magnets, many of which are neodymium — the same type of magnet used to make magnetic filters and other forms of QC. If you would like to discuss our products and how you might be able to use them in food or beverage processing, call us at 1-304-257-1193 or leave a message on our contact page.